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SP, BSP no longer untouchable for each other

This Sunday’s political developments in Uttar Pradesh have made two things clear. One, the two regional players Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are not untouchable for each other anymore. Two, Akhilesh Yadav’s is steadily moving towards forming a bigger alliance in the state.

lucknow Updated: Mar 05, 2018 13:08 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal
Pankaj Jaiswal
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
SP,BSP,Untouchable

This Sunday’s political developments in Uttar Pradesh have made two things clear. One, the two regional players Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are not untouchable for each other anymore. Two, Akhilesh Yadav’s is steadily moving towards forming a bigger alliance in the state. Whether such an alliance takes shape or not, remains to be seen in the days to come.

On Sunday, Akhilesh Yadav won over the Pragatisheel Manav Samaj Party, the fourth alliance partner in the forthcoming Lok Sabha by-polls for the Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats. Before this, the Nationalist Congress Party, NISHAD party, and Peace Party had declared an alliance with the SP.

Shortly after declaration of the local BSP units’ support to the SP candidates, BSP chief Mayawati may have denied her party’s alliance with any party. But one comment of her leaves much room for speculation. “When BSP enters into any alliance with the SP or any other party, it will not be a hush-hush affair. Rather, it will be announced,” she said.

Before this Maya’s set line had been “the BSP will go it alone”. Her fresh remark is being interpreted by the SP and Congress leaders to mean that Mayawati might enter into a pre-poll alliance this time.

Samajwadi Party state president Naresh Uttam Patel said: “We welcome BSP local units’ declaration of support to SP candidates. We had appealed to all secular parties to support us. When Mayawatiji said “support the strongest candidate”, it’s obvious she meant the SP candidates.”

This is the first time since the infamous state guesthouse incident of June 2, 1995, when an attempt was allegedly made on Mayawati’s life by angry SP workers, that the BSP is showing some affinity towards the SP. The SP-BSP alliance was in power in the state then but Mayawati withdrew support.

Mayawati, in 2003, had said that she was ready to forgive Mulayam if he apologised publicly for the incident.

After the BSP drew a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and the Samajwadi Party won just five seats, senior SP leader Ramgopal Yadav had proposed an alliance to “defeat the communal forces”. At that time, a senior BSP leader had said Maya may consider it, if Mulayam offered an apology. Now, that pre-condition has automatically vanished. Mulayam is neither the party president nor in any other authoritative position in the SP. His son Akhilesh Yadav is calling the shots now. Akhilesh, despite Mulayam’s opposition entered into a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in 2017 polls. Now, he is looking for a bigger alliance with BSP too and continues to call the Congress a “lifelong friend”.

Ever since Akhilesh became the Samajwadi Party national president, he stopped taking a dig at Mayawati by calling her bua (paternal aunt) and Mayawati, in turn, did not refer to him as Babua (kid) since then.

A Congress leader said: “Now, it is too late in the day for the Congress to be in an alliance for the by-polls. On the ninth of this month, the campaigning for the by-polls will end. But this certainly has brightened the prospects for a larger alliance of secular forces against the communal forces.”

Whenever talk of ‘grand alliance’ in UP arose earlier, senior Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi had a common refrain: “Unless Mayawati is on board, it will not be a grand alliance.”

Maybe, things are moving towards what Tyagi defined as a grand alliance.

As of now, in UP, the Samajwadi Party has five LS seats, the Congress two and Mayawati none.

First Published: Mar 05, 2018 13:08 IST